The heavy yet familiar guitar riff of “Walk” by Pantera sucker punches its way through silence as a beat up, dirty wrestling ring sits under a spotlight surrounded by darkness.
The drums kick in, sending the song into it’s natural, guttural rhythm and the SHOOT Project helmet logo burns its way onto the dirty canvas. Seconds later, the rest of the SHOOT project logo brands itself onto the canvas.
As the song continues to hammer forth, the mat begins to char and blacken, the logo turning white with ash.
In the flames that begin to form, the faces of SHOOT Project Soldiers Akuma Satsui, Bobson Dugnutt, Chadwick Kyle, and Fuego Eterno appear in quick succession.
The drums pick up speed, coming to their violent crescendo and the ring transitions to the traditional modern black canvas with white logo seen weekly in the Epicenter.
Can’t you see I’m easily bothered by persistence…
NEMESIS does battle in the ring with Joshua Breedlove before cutting quickly to a shot of Joe Wrestleman getting the flim flam from Bobson Dugnutt.
One step from lashing out at you…
Spinebuster Island goes toe to toe with Martial Law during their 20 minute tag team epic.
You want in to get under my skin
Call yourself a friend…
Courtney Hatchett shows no fear against Akuma Satsui before we cut to several Fuckhaus members engaging in a group high five.
I’ve got more friends like you
What do I do…
The Sin City Scoundrels and Spinebuster Island clash in a memorable clinic of tag team wrestling.
Is there no standard anymore?
The former #TJOMD arrives, throwing his arms out wide and basking in his moment, NEMESIS scowling behind him.
What it takes
Who I am
Where I’ve been
The last moments of the Shut Up & Fight Battle Royal play out, Curtis Rose coming out on top as the inaugural champion transitions to Shinji Takahashi winning the title from Rose.
You can’t be something you’re not…
Kitsune casts a spell on X-Calibur during the Redemption Rumble, an audible hiss permeating even the music.
Stay away from me…
Haskell Payne and Robbie Bingo enjoy a couple bottles of Bingo’s Best before we cut to Joshua Breedlove in all his glory and then to NEMESIS putting in a valiant effort against Shinji.
A lesson learned in life
Known from the dawn of time…
Jonah Silverkin scores a three count on Shinji, earning him the SUAF Championship transitions to Martial Law and GOOD JOB tearing into one another with gumption!
Curtis Rose holding the title becomes Shinji Takahashi holding the title before cutting to Jonah Silverkin raising the title in the air in victory.
The Shut Up & Fight Championship dominates the scene.
What did you say…
A flash of every Soldier on Shut Up and Fight goes by so fast that one couldn’t pick out the face of any particular Soldier.
Cut back to the pristine, black and white canvas emblazoned with the SHOOT Project emblem on it.
Jump cut LIVE to the Epicenter as red and blue pyro explodes on the ramp and stage.
ARE YOU TALKING TO ME…
08.16.2020 – Redemption
TJOMD: Yes… look at Jonas Coleman’s face, the tears of blood streaming down his cheeks. I want this to be etched forever into your memory, “Joe.” I want you to understand what’s happened to you. This is not Project: SCAR abducting you and leaving you for dead in a desert.
This is the New Vanguard.
And me… Scion.
TJOMD or Scion, rolls into the ring as Avarice releases Coleman’s head and we see the blood dripping from his eyelids. He is blinking, trying to keep the blood from clouding his eyes. Void releases the Atrophy and stands with Malice and Avarice, the four of them looming over Jonas Coleman. He doesn’t move, he quite honestly can’t. Scion, still wielding the asp he used to incapacitate his father, points it into Jonas’ face. He smiles, rears back, and cracks him across the forehead.
A BIG guitar riff hits the audio system and the Shut Up and Fight crowd COMES ALIVE as “Holy Defender” by Primitai plays, leading into the introduction of the former World Heavyweight Champion, the Bad Ass Brother, the Defender of Faith… JONAS COLEMAN.
Eryk Masters: We’re kicking this show off with something HUGE, because that right there… that is a man that is a sight for sore eyes!
Other Guy: You’re not kidding, my friend. It’s been several weeks since we’ve seen Jonas Coleman, and it’s felt like a freaking eternity, and E.. he looks pretty good!
Eryk Masters: Yeah he does, he still has some bruising on and around his face from the attack he suffered at the hands of the New Vanguard, but other than that? He looks like Jonas Coleman.
Jonas is all business as he makes his way around the ring, picking up a microphone. He’s got a black Bad Ass Brotherhood t-shirt on and he’s wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes. He doesn’t acknowledge or make the motion to acknowledge any of the fans, which is out of the ordinary for him, but it’s also important to note that there is not a smile to be found on his face.
He’s very focused as he rolls underneath the rope and pops back up to his feet, microphone in hand.
Jonas Coleman: August 16th was one of the worst days in my career, and I’m not going to sit around and bullshit you about that otherwise. I lost my title and some second generation chucklefucks decided that that was going to be their moment to get real fuckin’ famous.
He starts to pace.
Jonas Coleman: I made my name in the SHOOT Project by fighting guys like that. Bringers of darkness, harbingers of violence, whatever they wanna call themselves… and it seems like it’s just… it’s pretty on brand for something like that to happen to me, so we’re going to just cut right to the fucking chase.
He looks directly into the camera.
Jonas Coleman: NEW VANGUARD. You’ve fucked up. We knew coming into this whole thing that darkness surrounds the SHOOT Project. Always has, probably always will, and while there’s darkness there will ALWAYS be a defender, and that guy?
That guy is me.
So I straight don’t give a fuck about anything that happens from here on out, you’re all targets. Every last one of you. Malice, Avarice, Void, and oh man oh man… ESPECIALLY Scion. I don’t really know where you clowns get off thinking that you can just do this kind of shit, but understand something.
A reckoning is coming.
The crowd pops at the threat, and Jonas smirks.
Jonas Coleman: I hope you guys have made your plans and you’ve prepared for what’s coming, because what you’ve done is opened up pandora’s fucking box, my friends. With me and Buck? That was about wrestling, about putting on a good show, and making sure that the fans had something to really invest in.
With you guys?
Oh MAN is it personal, and if you want a reminder about what that looks like?
You don’t have to look very far. There’s a well curated video archive on the SHOOT Project website that will show you EVERYTHING you need to know and EVERYTHING you need to expect now that you’ve made the move from casual nuisance to legit problem.
And make no mistake.
Jonas Coleman: I’m a fucking problem solver.
So, here’s what I need all of you kids to do. Get your smartphones out, load up Google Calendar, or iCal if you’re one of THOSE guys… find September 14th… enter a new event, and we’ll just, you know… we’ll just call it Revolution 146.
Here’s what you should look forward to on that date.
The systematic destruction of the New Vanguard by THE BUTCHER, JONAS COLEMAN.
Hit my god damn music.
With that, Jonas drops the mic as denoted by the audible pop it makes as it hits the ring, and “Holy Defender” kicks back in.
Eryk Masters: Jonas DID NOT mince words here tonight, and it sounds like we have a date for Revolution! OG, I think… I think my heart might have just…
Other Guy: E, did it? Did it just…?
Eryk Masters: I THINK MY HEART JUST PEED!!!
Other Guy: Well, let’s get custodial out here to clean that up and we’ll jump into our first match of the evening, where Elbow Jackson and Octavian Enright square off. First meeting between the two, but potentially not the last, as the teams and matchups for the TRIAD Championship tournament were announced earlier this week.
Eryk Masters: Yep, so this might be a preview of the semi-final match, provided that Extremely Martial Law and the Chad Ass Brotherhood get by their respective matches. Let’s get to it!
ELBOW JACKSON VS. OCTAVIAN ENRIGHT
A SHOOT Project camera crew roams the backstage area of the Epicenter while the crowd can be heard down in the arena. From somewhere off camera, a voice full of sleaze and bad life decisions can be heard.
???: … Look, hear me out. All I’m saying is we sign that Cardi chick, the Stallion, and that one-legged midget broad with the lazy eye…
The voice trails off as the camera picks up the sleaziest group of men, or the most genius art film directors of our time (you decide). Smokey Orchard seems to have been in the middle of a film pitch while surrounded by his Fuckhaus comrades Pepper Woodland, Snoopy Florence, and Sugar Scales. Smokey sees the camera and immediately tries to smooth back his hair, a wide-toothed grin breaking out on his face.
Smokey Orchard: Well, hey now! Hello to all of our fuck boys, fuck gals, and fuck non-binary pals out there!
He jovially taps Snoopy, the closest to him, on the shoulder.
Smokey Orchard: Fuckhaus, the greatest creators of professional art films on the planet, is in the building tonight! Tell’em what’s in store this evening fellas!
Sugar Scales rubs his fingers across his chest and bites the corner of his bottom lip, letting out the smallest little groan.
Sugar Scales: Oh, baby…do you people out there think you are ready for just what we have in store for this place? For this industry?
Sugar giggles, waving his hands in front of his face to reveal his perfectly manicured nails, his nails on both hands spelling out “S-U-G-A-R.”
Sugar Scales: We decided a long time ago to stop hiding who we are and what kind of talents we are. We are once in a lifetime, baby. Well…
He looks at his Fuckhaus companions.
Sugar Scales: …maybe we’re four times in a lifetime, but the point still remains, darlings. We are artists of the highest caliber, more than ready…more than willing…to do whatever it takes…to make our dreams come true.
Snoopy steps forward, his roast turkey tan glistening due to what we assume is a liberal coating of Make Sex Great Again Sensual Oil. He claps Sugar on the shoulder with a smile.
Snoopy Florence: Are we talking about the same old same old? Stroke flicks in a dingy back room? No! The industry has taken setbacks, sure. But we’re talking about production. About feelings. About a very specific feeling. Some may say it’s enough just to have the accolades we’ve had–Sugar himself just recently won recognition for his work in a feature I myself directed. A little ditty called “My Wife Can’t Stop Being. Hosebeast 4: Cock Cotillion”. Eagle eyed viewers, real aficionados, will recognize it as my love letter to Kurosawa’s Ran. And Sugar’s work? Straight Stanislavski Technique. Method. But mainstream recognition?
He shakes his head sadly.
Snoopy Florence: Never comes. No matter how many times we do. So now we’re here. To show just how much talent we’re…packing.
Sugar wipes away a tear.
Sugar Scales: Snoopy darling, there’s no way I could have done it without your erecti…i mean, your direction. Your vision!
Sugar Scales: The Scorcese of Skin, that one, am I right? Oh of course I am.
He gives a mischievous grin to the camera.
Sugar Scales: But see, talent such as ours has been long overdue for its time in the sun. We belong, you see, on the cutting edge…nay…the bleeding edge of entertainment! It’s why our industry has been so important to the world. It was Pepper’s opus “Cravin’ Raven VII: Phantasic Phantom Phallusy” that led the call for Blu Ray over HD-DVDs.
He taps Pepper’s shoulder.
Sugar Scales: Remember that one, love? Oh I can’t forget, it’s in my regular rotation.
Pepper Woodland: Let it be known, friends, champions, and fans… I may not have much, but what I do have, besides a lot of money, a huge house, and a nice car?
Pepper Woodland: I’ve got a big ol’ dick.
He motions with his hands to show just how big the ol’ dick is.
Pepper Woodland: And with my big ol’ dick, my hands, and the friends I’ve got gathered around here with me… well, you know… a storm’s a cummin’. Heh.
Smokey steps forward again, smiling ear to ear.
Smokey Orchard: So, what happens when you take the Scorcese of Skin, the Holy Jizzus of Sexual Liberation, a Big Ol’ Dick, and the Two-Time Stiffy Award Winner for Best Special Effects? You end up with a whole bunch of Soldiers about to get totally fucked.
The freaky foursome step away from the camera, continuing on their merry way as we hear Smokey make yet another pitch.
Smokey Orchard: Man, that would be a great reality T.V. show, wouldn’t it? Totally Fucked. Think MTV would be interested…
Eryk Masters: I don’t even really know what to say about all that, but Pepper Woodland and Snoopy Florence make their Shut Up and Fight debut against the Sin City Scoundrels next!
FUCKHAUS VS. THE SIN CITY SCOUNDRELS
A plain, white luchador mask rests on an aged wooden table. The mask bears no special design or adornments. It has eye-holes covered by white mesh, two small holes at the nose for breathing, and a slit where the mouth goes. That’s it.
Sitting at the table on a matching wooden chair is a young woman with raven black hair tied into a tight ponytail that hangs to the middle of her shoulder blades.
Her back is to the camera, tanned brown skin unmarred by scars or tattoos. She is wearing a pair of long wrestling tights with the colors of the Mexican flag down the sides. The red, white, and green criss-cross in design down the legs. The top is a halter-style piece in the same color scheme.
The young woman never shows her face to the camera but her voice is full of the exuberance of youth.
A blank slate. That’s how we all start. In my culture, we earn our titles. I’m not just talking about championships. I mean our very namesakes are earned.
Many times, a name is handed down generation to generation until it becomes so diluted that the name is more of an honorific than anything truly meaningful.
I refuse to be another hand-me-down name in the history of lucha libre.
I refuse to be told what my identity is.
I refuse to have my own identity taken from me in the name of family tradition.
I will forge my own name. I will create my own identity. I am a blank slate.
The young woman speaks with passion, a fire burning in every word she speaks. She reaches out and gingerly takes the mask into her unmarked, well cared for hands.
I will begin my career both in homage to what has come before me and in my own image.
I am the sparrow, La Gorrion.
She pulls the mask over her head, pulling her hair back through the hole in the back of her mask. La Gorrion turns to face the camera, now fully masked.
My journey begins here in the SHOOT Project. I will earn my true face. I will grow to become something more than another page in tradition’s book. I will write my own book of lucha history.
The scene fades to a black background with a plain white lucha mask. The call of a bird sounds and we cut to black.
JOSHUA BREEDLOVE VS. BOYD WALTON
The text on the screen reads:
“EL CABALLERO BLANCO: THE HERO WE NEED”
Black fades to an image. The man stands atop a rock formation in the purple and orange dusk of the desert. Wind whips his white cape about him—he is dressed head to toe in white, from his boots to his tunic to his mask, save for a slight red accent over one eye. His stance is proud. One leg up, hands on his hips. He peers into the distance. He shakes his head.
El Caballero Blanco: I see the darkness and I see the injustice.
Looking down, he makes a fist with his right hand.
El Caballero Blanco: And I cannot watch it any longer. I am a proud man. I am a hero. I am the latest in a long line of men who right wrongs where they are found. My mentor, Caballero Rojo, fought for decades to represent the downtrodden. To fight for what is right. To strike down evildoers where they stand, no matter the cost.
He points to the lights of the city in the distance, his lower lip set.
El Caballero Blanco: And when I look upon the SHOOT Project? I see evildoers abound. Men, women, people. All who trade in destruction, despair, and doom.
Shaking his head, he raises his fist and shouts to the sky.
El Caballero Blanco: I say no more! I say no longer will people walk in fear down the halls of the SHOOT Project. I say no longer will the powerful abuse and belittle the meek! This is not the way things should be. And I will ensure that it is not the way things are.
Taking a moment, he reaches into the folds of his pristine cape and pulls free one single, picture perfect red rose. He brings it to his nose, inhaling deeply, before setting it down on the rock in front of him, a convenient crack allows it to stand upright.
El Caballero Blanco: I am the white knight. I am the dawn’s light. I am strong and good at wrestling. I am El Caballero Blanco, and villains, you are officially on notice.
With a flourish of his cape, he leaps offscreen, and our final image is of the single rose, brilliant in the fading sunlight.
COURTNEY HATCHETT VS. JONAH SILVERKIN (c)
Moments after the bell sounds, the lights shut off completely. Fans in attendance are taken off guard by this.
Eryk Masters: The hell?
Other Guy: I can barely see anything. Good thing we have these useless monitors in front of us!
A distorted sound of guitars and cymbals can be heard echoing throughout the Epicenter. Followed by the creepy sound of a little British girl’s voice:
Y O U ‘ R E
A l l
G O I N G
D I E
D O W N
H E R E
A spotlight changing colors quite erratically shines down upon two individuals standing at the entrance ramp while the vocal-less “Seizure of Power” by Marilyn Manson plays. On the right is the entity Milton, formerly known as Sean Boden, and to the left of him is The Provocateur, Arthur Pleasant.
Eryk Masters: Oh. FUCK.
Other Guy: I don’t see where Jonah went but Courtney needs to get out of there!
They slowly saunter down to the ring, with Arthur in front of Milton. His hands are raised outwards with his head tilted upwards as Milton’s arms are crossed onto each other in an all-business pose. Almost as if they were painted in invisible marker, various shapes and disturbing calligraphy appear on them as the “spotlight” randomizes its colors. For a moment, it looks as if two demons are walking down to the ring, changing shapes, sizes, and identities.
Courtney remains in the unlit ring, kneeling while trying to catch her breath after a well fought match with Jonah Silverkin. Arthur looks up at Courtney and blows her a kiss. Milton, however, just pulls on the second rope and hoists himself to one knee on the ring apron. Arthur turns his back to Courtney and leans back on the ring apron, looking up at Milton.
Eryk Masters: MAN these guys are fucking disturbing.
Other Guy: I don’t like this one bit. My goosebumps are growing goosebumps.
Arthur laughs as Milton gets into the ring. Courtney gets to her feet, prepared to fend off these fiends. Milton withdraws a phallic looking, custom-made microphone.
Milton: Courtney. We have no issue with you, you understand. We have simply come for–
Before Milton can even finish the sentence, Arthur turns around towards the ring, slides in, shoots forward and NAILS Courtney Hatchett with a standing shining wizard. The audience and announcers see it just enough through the darkness to react out in horror.
Eryk Masters: PROVOCATION! WHAT THE FUCK!?
Other Guy: WHY!?
The spotlights cease.
There’s a tussle in the ring.
Followed by shouting.
Spotlights, in turn, shine up towards three large, human-sized presents. In a scene reminiscent of Revolution 145, the gifts have lit-up punctuation marks on them. With “?” already opened, the remaining three, “;”, ‘#”, and “!”, begin descending down from their cables.
A few moments later, the lights jarringly come back on to reveal the presents all parked next to a turnbuckle corner.
Arthur is hunkered down, whispering something in Courtney’s ear. She shakes her head. Arthur looks up at Milton, who stomps down hard on her spine.
He then stomps again.
Arthur punches her right in the temple.
Milton stomps, and Arthur spits in Courtney’s eye. The thick, phlegmy, secretious wad of saliva oozes from her eyelashes down into the whites of her eye. Helpless from the stomps, punching, and spitting, Courtney nods in defeat. Milton delivers another stomp anyway, which ignites a fit of laughter from Arthur to the point where he is on his back, kicking at the air while laughing.
With Milton and Arthur about to destroy her, Courtney has no choice but to crawl towards one of the corners where a present awaits.
Milton: Yes, Miss Hatchett. Choose wisely, now.
Eryk Masters: I think I’m going to be sick. This is inhumane.
Other Guy: Look, I’m all for entertainment but this is taking it too far.
Courtney crawls… and crawls… and crawls…
… until she reaches the present with the semicolon on it.
Like a beast being uncaged without having a meal for days, Adelaide Ainsworth BURSTS through the wrapping and pounces on Courtney!
Eryk Masters: That’s Adelaide Ainsworth!
Like a nightmare bursting into reality, Addy starts raining down fists and forearms on Courtney — who has curled up into a ball to try to fend off the viciousness. Addy isn’t having that though and grabs her by the ankles, pulls her legs straight out, then jumps on top of her!
Other Guy: Yeeeeeah someone needs to stop this. This is just… nah. Too far.
Addy smiles for a moment, looking back at Arthur and Milton with a lustful glare. Then, looking focusing back on Courtney, she attacks with her teeth, biting at her right ear! At this point Milton intervenes and pulls Addy back, causing Addy to RIP an earring free!
Eryk Masters: For the love of God! She’s a fucking SAVAGE! How is there not security for this?
Other Guy: With all of the heinous shit going on in SHOOT? You think maybe they’re a bit busy at the moment? I dunno. Just throwing that out there!
As Milton and Addy get to their feet, the bloodthirsty beast spits out the earring she ripped out of Courtney’s ear. Just about frothing at the mouth, Ainsworth has to be held back several times by Milton. While this is going on, Arthur skips his way over to the present Ainsworth emerged from and pulls out something in a black plastic garbage bag.
Eryk Masters: What’s in the baaaag? What’s in the baaaag?
Other Guy: Did you just go all David Mills on us? Does John Doe have the upperhand?
Turning it upside down, Arthur lets the contents fall onto his free hand. Then, tossing the bag aside, Arthur holds up what appears to be a Championship Belt for the entire audience to see.
Eryk Masters: WHAT!?
Other Guy: Well there’s your answer, Real Deal. Now we know where the old Iron Fist Title went after the Boss Man himself said it went missing from our archives during that interview with Austin Linam!
With Ainsworth finally calming down some, Milton takes the SHOOT Project Iron Fist Championship from yesteryear out of Arthur’s raised hand… and begins connecting the straps together so that it fits snugly around his waist.
Together, with Arthur putting his left arm over Adelaide Ainsworth and his right arm over Milton, all three of them begin shouting out to the crowd.
Ainsworth and Milton both raise their free arms and point upwards with each count.
Courtney, to the credit of her strength, starts trying to get up, but the beating is too severe and she collapses to the mat.
Eryk Masters: What does this mean going forward? Is Arthur Pleasant actually proclaiming himself as… the Iron Fist Champion!?
Arthur Pleasant cackles to himself, holding his body up between Ainsworth and Milton, swinging his legs back and forth like a swing.